Geography can be a dull subject but what follows, culled from the Internet, is anything but tiresome:

• More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.

• The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20 percent of the world's oxygen supply.

• The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that more than 100 miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean.

• The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.

• Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.

• Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents 70 percent of all the fresh water in the world.

• As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4 percent of it), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.

• Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.

• Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.

• Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village."

• Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.

• Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Mich., carries the designation M-1, named so because it was the first paved road in the U.S.

• Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.

• Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents.

• Los Angeles' full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula and can be abbreviated to 3.63 percent of its size: L.A.

• The term "The Big Apple" for New York City was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression "apple" for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time, The Big Apple.

• There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy; and more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.

• There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio; every one is manmade.

• The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 square miles by 4.53 square kilometers.

• Chances that a road is unpaved in the U.S.A.: 1 percent, in Canada: 75 percent.

• The first city to reach a population of one million people was Rome, Italy, in 133 B.C.

• There is a city called Rome on every continent.

• Siberia contains more than 25 percent of the world's forests.

• The smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area the size of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has a population of 80, which is 20 fewer people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as is the Vatican.

• In the Sahara desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for 10 years.

• Technically though, the driest place on Earth is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island. There has been no rainfall there for two million years.

• Spain literally means "the land of rabbits."

• St. Paul, Minn., was originally called Pig's Eye after a man named Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant who set up the first business there.

• The Eisenhower interstate highway system in the United States requires that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

• The water of Angel Falls (the world's highest waterfall) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet. That is 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.